Profile: Jake Barlow

Jake Barlow is someone with a song in his heart. He’s a man of many parts and he’s extremely busy. He’s a singer, conductor and teacher based in Chichester. He’s also a Lay Vicar at Chichester Cathedral, a member of the cathedral choir and he sings eight choral services a week, goes on tour conducting and singing, takes part in festivals in the UK and abroad, broadcasts and makes recordings. Jake’s also a member of the Festival of Chichester Committee. He conducts the St Richard Singers too. It is a highly reputable chamber choir in Chichester.

Jake sang with the National Northern Youth Boys Choir when he was a lad and has a string of academic qualifications to his name. He studied Greek and Latin at Oxford and has appeared as a soloist with the BBC Philharmonic and several top-notch ensembles.

Jake Barlow is not just an average, run-of-the-mill singer. He’s that rare breed of vocalist, a countertenor.

Countertenors date back to the days of the Renaissance when the Catholic Church banned women from singing in church. So, men were needed to sing the highest parts in liturgical music. Some sang falsetto while others were doctored to become castrati. Joseph Haydn narrowly missed that fate. Thankfully, that barbaric custom has long-since died out.

Jake’s a professional singer and teacher of music theory but he has lots of amateur interests and hobbies. With his customary hands-on approach, he started the Noviomagus Ensemble which he conducts. This enterprise involves a seventeen-piece orchestra and forty singers in the guise of the St Richard Singers.

They are working up to a grand concert entitled “A Royal Summer” at 7.30pm on 2nd July at St George’s Whyke Church, Cleveland Rd, Chichester, PO19 7AD. They will perform Henry Purcell’s Come Ye Sons of Art. This was an ode written in 1694 for Queen Mary the Second’s birthday.

Although Jake is an academic, he and his girlfriend are lovers of Barbershop, that close-harmony singing which is really big in the USA. Surprisingly, it also has a big following in the Northwest of England. Jake’s originally from Stockport which is a hub of this popular vocal entertainment, so naturally he’s a big fan of the multi award-winning Cottontown Chorus from Bolton.

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